Following is a season preview for the Rogers boys hockey team which opened Thursday with a 4-3 win over Champlin Park.
ROGERS HOCKEY, BOYS
Coaches — Justin Strunk (head) … Todd Weisjahn, Dirk Udee, Al Bistodeau, Ron Sibley
Last year — 5-3 conference, 12-13-2 overall
Captains — not chosen yet
Returning starters — Nate Weber (sr F), Travis Brown (sr D), Alex Lorman (sr F), Spencer Marchand (sr F), Blake Timm (sr D), Jason Roberge (jr F), Brandon Cecil (jr F), Matt Hellickson (so D)
Also in the mix — Jake Walker (sr F), Travis Limoseth (so D), Vinny Billing (so F), Dustin Schoepke (so F)
New staff — The Royals have a new head coach and three new assistants. Strunk, an assistant at Maple Grove for six years, succeeds Tim Marchand, who coached the Royals in their first 10 seasons.
New challenge — Rogers moves up a class this year, playing in Section 5AA against NWSC teams.
Coach says — “We’ve got good, talented, hardworking kids with high character. Our strengths are team speed, returning our top forwards, and some very good two-way defensemen.
Outlook — Four all-conference players return from a 12-13-2 team, all of them scorers: Weber (16 goals), Brown (14), Lorman (12) and Marchand (8), along with Cecil (10 goals). This should be a solid team, but with a tougher schedule and section, too.